Bringing more diversity to the games industry is an everyday effort that companies need to commit to doing. While some studios have been spearheading a movement to close the gender gap in games, many companies have yet to ramp up their efforts.
Women only represent 24% of the US games industry workforce according to the IGDA's developer satisfaction survey from 2019. In the UK, 28% of game workers are women, according to the UKIE Games Industry Census from 2020.
There are many simple actions that could be taken to improve these figures. If what's preventing your studio from tackling the issue is not knowing where to start, the GamesIndustry.biz Academy has resources that can help you make the first step towards a better inclusion of women in your workforce.
Remember: diversity makes money. You should be looking at improving the gender balance in your workforce because it is the right thing to do, but if business reasons are what you need, we have these too.
"Diverse and inclusive workforce demonstrates 1.12 times more discretionary effort, 1.19 times greater intent to stay, 1.57 times more collaboration among teams, and 1.242 times greater team commitment," Splash Damage's diversity & inclusion advisor Cinzia Musio told the GamesIndustry.biz Academy last year, quoting research from CEB Global and Talent Innovation. "And at firms with diverse leaders, employees reported to be 60% more likely to see their ideas developed and prototyped, 75% more likely to see their innovation implemented, 70% more likely to capture new markets in the past year, and 45% more likely to have increased market share in the past year."
To celebrate International Women's Day, you'll find below a collection of guides touching upon topics such as retention and mentorship, good recruitment practices to attract more women, unconscious bias, and in-game representation.
Frances Light, the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at mobile developer King, looks into ways games companies can improve their gender balance. Her advice is an excellent place to start if you're unsure about what actions can be taken to bring more women to your workforce.
It's worth mentioning that King is at the forefront of gender diversity efforts in games, reaching in 2019 its target of 40% of new hires being women. The company committed to achieve fully gender balanced hiring by the end of 2020.
Senior producer at Avalanche Studios Victoria Setian gave a GDC Summer talk addressing how to fight discriminatory attitudes in the workplace and develop female talent into leadership.
"Whatever you do, you are wrong. If you're direct, you're a bitch. If you're a good listener, you're too passive"
Victoria Setian, Avalanche
Particularly focusing on identifying and fighting master suppression techniques -- which are used to dominate others in an indirect way -- Setian gave key tools to empower women in your workforce.
At Devcom 2020, executive director of Global Game Jam and Geogrify CEO Kate Edwards highlighted the main issues affecting game creators, and what the industry can do to address them. While her in-depth talk addressed a wide array of challenges, she dedicated a large chunk of her presentation to diversity.
She looked into the reality of the issue in games -- including an alarming gender pay gap -- and how this affects the mental health of game creators, before offering practical solutions.
Speaking at Ludicious X, Celia Hodent suggested avoiding discrimination when recruiting is much like improving a video game: "It's all about understanding how the environment is going to favour human flaws."
Hodent offered a look into how our brains process information and how implicit biases work, before explaining their impact. While the talk doesn't exclusively focus on gender, it provides a good starting point to understanding unconscious biases and how you can change your approach.
Underrepresented groups are often not granted the same opportunities. The GamesIndustry.biz Academy explored the effect of unconscious biases on the workplace, and how you can steer away from them and towards diversity.
In this in-depth guide, particularly focusing on gender, we looked at a dozen ways you can review your practices and make sure your company is implementing inclusive practices through and through.
This excerpt from the first annual report from UKIE's #RaiseTheGame diversity initiative focuses on ways you can create a diverse workforce, supported by real-life examples from studios around the UK.
"Who would want to work in a place where everyone had the same personality, viewpoints and ways of thinking?"
Rebecca Sampson, Hangar 13
From making sure your company publicly supports candidates from a range of different backgrounds to ensuring your interviews are conducted inclusively, the report offers a wealth of practical advice, and also includes six simple steps you can do now.
At GDC 2020, Proletariat's Tori Schafer offered key considerations for studios including LGBTQ+ representation in their games, also giving advice related to gender.
Remember that representation is a virtuous circle: representing more diversity on screen means more opportunities to attract a diverse workforce, which in turns will create more and better representation in-game.